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Seventeen People Killed in a Stampede at a Football Match in Angola

It is estimated that 17 people died and several were injured in a stampede at an Angolan football match on Friday when hundreds of fans stormed the stadium gates, local officials said.

State news agency Angop said the crowd in the northern city of Uige attempted to force their way through barriers after failing to gain access into stadium before a match kick-off between Santa Rita de Cassia and Recreativo do Libolo – Angola’s first division championship clash.

As a result, many fell and were crushed in the process as the crowd tried to break free of the deadlock.

The Recreativo do Libolo club in a statement said,

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”While the players were on the field, outside fans were trying to get into the stadium and a gate probably gave way to the pressure of the crowd causing several people to fall who were literally trampled on by the crowd.”[/perfectpullquote]

Police spokesman Orlando Bernardo told the AFP news agency, “There was a blockage at the entrance to the January 4 stadium … this obstruction caused multiple fatalities and there are 56 injured in the hospital.”

Bernardo also confirmed several children among the fatalities.

Ernesto Luis, director general of the local hospital said people had suffocated in the crush.

“Some people had to walk on top of other people. There were 76 casualties, of whom 17 died,” he said. Five of the injured were in a serious condition.

According to witnesses, the crowd attempting to gain access would surpass the 8,000 capacity the stadium is limited to hold.

“When we wanted to go in, we found a barrier. The first row of people fell down…. I was in the third layer (of people),” said 37-year-old fan Joao Silva, who survived the crush with a broken foot.

Another victim, Domingos Vika, 35, who broke a hand also said, “When they gave the opportunity for everyone to come in, we were all packed at the gate already.”

Angolan President Jose Eduardo Santos expressed condolences to the victims’ families and ordered an investigation into the incident, Angop news agency reported.

The unfortunate incident raised concerns over crowd management with criticism raised towards authorities responsible for ensuring the safety of supporters.

“It is all the fault of the police. It was easy to avoid. They just need to extend the safety cordon,” Pedro Nzolonzi, the president of the Santa Rita de Cassia club told Portuguese news agency, Lusa.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”There was serious police error in letting the people so close to the field … Many of them did not want to pay and those who had tickets could not get in. Then, the confusion began.”[/perfectpullquote]

Angola who is ranked 148 in the world has a history of stampedes and deaths, so often caused by overcrowded stadiums. In addition, there have been violent outbreaks during matches.



Featured photo: A stampede during a domestic league game in Angola has resulted in causalities. (Reuters)

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